The Norwalk (“Sam Elpern”) Half Marathon closes out the six race summer series. This year, in something of a rarity, it was chilly enough at the start to arrive wearing a long sleeve shirt! The chill didn’t last long - but it gave us great running conditions. The half marathon was my fifth of the six races in the series. I had a sub-1:40 time goal in mind for the double loop course.
I’ve run this half marathon many times over the last decade, with widely varying results. My times ranged from 1:29 (2005) through 1:49 (2009) - and, seemingly, everything in between. When anemia kept me from running the race in 2008, I volunteered at a water station instead! I’ve even jogged it while recovering from a calf pull (2009).
A 7:30 pace seemed doable at the start. But, within the first few miles, I realized that the second loop would put that pace out of reach. Mile one went by in 6:32 - and I suspected (correctly) that it was short. Miles two and three were 7:35's, and mile 4 was 7:42, for a 4 mile split of 29:26. Mile 5 (and its long climb) took 8:02 and still had me at a 7:30 pace (37:29).
Except for miles eight and thirteen (7:25s), there would be no more 7:30 miles for me. I reached 10 miles in 1:16:27 - and could still run a 1:40 if I did the last 5k in 23:30. Interestingly, that 10 mile split was 2 minutes faster than my Westport 10 miler and 2 minutes slower than the training run I followed it up with the next day!
But luck wasn’t with me. Revisiting the climb in mile 5 (now 13), it took me 8:14 to crest the hill. I got some of it back on the downhill in mile 12 (7:25), but my 13 mile split was exactly 1:40 - and I still had a tenth of a mile left to run. I finished in 1:40:48 - a 7:42 pace. Given that time was 8+ minutes faster than my 2009 result, I was pretty happy.
While we waited for the results for the half marathon and the overall series standings to be complied, there was plenty of socializing (plus ice cream, watermelon, and bagels to munch on). I was amazed to learn that I had finished 3rd in my age group for the series! That was a shock - and I was more than thrilled to bring home a trophy for the series.
Here are some race photos.
Next up: the Fall Frolic 30k